Installing gutters on your home is necessary to avoid a host of weather-related problems, but installing them wrong can defeat the purpose. The purpose of your gutters is to direct water that falls on the roof down to the ground and away from the home. In order for this drainage system to work as expected, it is important that the right type of gutters be properly positioned on the house to divert water from the roof, siding, and foundation.
Use the Right Size Gutters
Using the right gutters is crucial to good performance. There are several models that might meet your needs, but the bigger the gutter system is, the better job it can do to prevent clogging – a consideration if you have a heavily wooded lot. Most gutters installed on homes are U or K shaped models with channels that are 4, 5, or 6″ in diameter and have 3″ or 4″ round or 2″ x 3″ or 3″ x 4″ square rectangular downspouts. The gauge of the gutter material is important too, with 25 gauge being satisfactory in many areas and 32 better for handling tough weather.
If you have extreme weather such as hurricanes or heavy ice, snow, or rain, you may need to talk to a pro about the best type for your needs.
Make Sure the Pitch is Right
The pitch must be correct to assist drainage. For every 40′ of length, the gutter needs to gently slope towards the downspout by an inch or two in order to keep the gutter free of material that can back up and block the gutters. Though the sloping is so gentle that is may not be noticeable, it will be detectable on a level that the installer uses when affixing gutters on the house.
Fasten at Proper Intervals
As a long expanse of metal or plastic, gutters will sag unless they are properly attached to the building with straps, brackets, or hangers paced every three feet or less. Sagging gutters collect water where they hang low; the weight of the water pulls them off. Professionals prefer to use a hidden hanger system on any home with a sufficient fascia or rafter tail and straps on those lacking fascia.
Properly Locate the Gutter
In order to ensure that water goes where it is supposed to, gutters should be properly located a few inches from the edge of the roof, which is protected with a drip edge. Installed under the shingles, a drip edge sends the water along rather than letting it collect under the shingles or down the fascia boards and siding.
Minimize Seams When Installing Gutters
The most popular gutter materials are aluminum and steel. While DIY installations use lengths of material connected via welding or soldering, professional installations use seamless products that are extruded to the needed length to eliminate or reduce seaming. Using professionally extruded metal gutters can reduce problems that occur when joints or welds can weaken due to water, temperature, or impact.
While installing gutters is a task that some homeowners think is easy enough that they can handle it, going with a professional can save you some common installation errors and leave you with gutters that will last longer.